Sunday, October 11, 2009

This season’s first satellite tag goes on…

Well the season has certainly started to gather some pace now and the first of the Aquafirma groups seem to have had a positive influence on the sharks if not the weather!

David had taken a satellite tag out for the 8th of October but the encounters did not provide a shark of a suitable size, he wanted one of over five metres; however on the 9th he was in luck. Sea conditions were again rough but two sharks had been spotted by Johan the micro-light aircraft pilot and with a boat on each it was apparent that both were very curious, giving long encounters, and both were females…. A very rare occurrence!

The shark that David’s team had was around 4.5 m and David was reluctant to tag it as the tether was set up for a larger shark; however, the other team’s shark was around 5.5m and so would be ideal… so leaving a spotter with each shark, the two boats swapped over.

Both Dominique and Ciara said it felt a little strange to be left all alone with ‘their’ sharks and there was definitely some sort of female bonding thing going on, but all four of the girls did well and the groups swapped over without any hiccups.

The ‘target’ shark was a very cooperative shark with an entourage of around 20+ yellow pilot fish and around the same number of slender remoras.

Once all the visitors had seen this shark it was time for David to go into action and this young lady didn’t even flinch as he attached the Wildlife Computers PAT tag to her right hand flank next to the dorsal fin.
In fact the shark continued to swim around the group with occasional visits back to the boat and showed no effects from the tagging… in fact David even got to dislodge a Copepod from her dorsal fin which Tori collected and labeled up for analysis.

The PAT tag safely deployed on the shark.

The team had the photo IDs processed by the following morning and the proud bearer of the satellite tag was in fact a new shark to Seychelles and registered as sey.2009.042 the 42 new shark of 2009.

It is planned to put on the second satellite tag during the coming week so let’s hope that the weather is as cooperative as the sharks!

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